Wednesday, December 30, 2009
La Ronde (Roundabout) is a 1950 movie, directed by Max Ophüls based on Schnitzler's 1897play of the same name.
The film was nominated for two Academy Awards; for Best Writing and Best Art Direction (Jean d'Eaubonne)
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Charles Solomon has a review of Pierre Assouline's new biography of Hergé in the Los Angeles Times today, here's an excerpt.
With his plus-four knickers, button nose and "squiff" hairdo, Tintin ranks as one of the most recognizable and best-loved characters in comics. However, his creator, Georges "Hergé" Remi(1907-83), remains "an elusive figure," as Pierre Assouline notes in this unsatisfying biography: "Most people expect his life to be as straightforward as the lines in his drawings. But it was full of complexity and contradiction, conflicts and paradoxes, of jagged peaks and crevasses."
The basic outline of Remi's career has been reported many times: Born into a stuffy, middle-class family in Brussels, he got his big break when Catholic priest and editor Norbert Wallez put him in charge of a children's supplement for the newspaper Le Vigntième Siècle ("The 20th Century") in 1928. He had adopted the nom de plume Hergé (the French pronunciation of his initials, reversed) four years earlier.
In 1929, Hergé introduced a comic strip about a boy reporter and his fox terrier, Tintin and Snowy, in the supplement Le Petit Vigntième ("The Little 20th") -- and scored an immediate success. The cartoonist presented Tintin's adventures in weekly installments, which he later reworked into books. Hergé's work has influenced a generation of cartoonists, as well as pop artists Andy Warhol andRoy Lichtenstein.
The resourceful Tintin displays all the virtues traditionally ascribed to a Boy Scout, but as Assouline observes, Hergé was a mass of contradictions. A conservative Catholic and patriotic Belgian, he worked for the collaborationist newspaper Le Soir during the Nazi occupation when Le Vigntième was shut down. A generous friend, he nevertheless refused to share royalties or credit with his assistants. Hergé, who professed to value loyalty, left his first wife, Germaine, for the younger artist Fanny Vlamynck in 1956 -- although he didn't divorce Germaine and marry Fanny until 1977.
Assouline devotes more space to Hergé's work during the Occupation than do most popular studies. Many of the Le Soir writers were later tried and given prison sentences. Hergé wasn't prosecuted, although he was blacklisted. Assouline suggests that Hergé never grasped the moral failure of working for the collaborationist press.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The 24 Hours of Le Mans (24 Heures du Mans) is the world's oldest sports car race inendurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, Sarthe, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance, it is organised by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) and runs on a circuit containing closed public roads that are meant not only to test a car and driver's ability to be quick, but also to last over a 24 hour period.
At a time when Grand Prix racing was occurring throughout Europe, Le Mans was envisioned as a different test from motorsports. Instead of focusing on the ability of a car company to build the fastest machines of the time, the 24 Hours of Le Mans would instead concentrate on the ability of manufacturers to build sporty yet reliable cars. This would drive innovation in not only reliable but also fuel-efficient vehicles, since the nature of endurance racing requires as little time to be spent in the pits as possible.
At the same time, due to the design of Le Mans, a drive would be created for better aerodynamics and stability of cars at high speeds. While this was shared with Grand Prix racing, few tracks in Europe featured straights the length of the Mulsanne. The fact that the road is public and therefore not maintained to the same quality as some permanent racing circuits also puts more of a strain on parts, causing more emphasis on reliability.
Beginning in the late 1970s, the demand for fuel economy from around the world led the race to adopt a fuel economy formula known as Group C in which competitors were given a set amount of fuel, from which they had to design an engine. Although Group C was abandoned when teams were able to master the fuel formulas, fuel economy would still be important to some teams as alternative fuel sources would appear in the early 21st century, attempting to overcome time spent during pit stops.
These technological innovations have had a trickle-down effect, with technology used at Le Mans finding its way into production cars several years later. This has also led to faster and more exotic supercars due to manufacturers wishing to develop faster road cars for the purposes of developing them into even faster GT cars.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Briançon (Latin: Brigantium) is a commune in the Hautes-Alpes department in theProvence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in south-eastern France. It is the sub-prefecture of the department.
At 1,350 metres it is the second highest city in Europe after Davos. It is built on a plateau nucleated around confluence of the Durance and the Guisane.
The historical centre is a strongly fortified town, built by Vauban to defend the region fromAustrians in the 17th century. Its streets are very steep and narrow, though picturesque. Briançon lies at the foot of the descent from the Col de Montgenèvre, giving access to Turin, so a great number of other fortifications have been constructed on the heights around it, especially towards the east. The Fort Janus is no less than 4,000 ft (1,200 m). above the town.
The parish church, with its two towers, was built 1703-1726, and occupies a very conspicuous position.
The Pont d'Asfeld, east of the town, was built in 1734, and forms an arch of 131 ft (40 m). span, thrown at a height of 184 ft (56 m). across the Durance.
The modern town extends in the plain at the southwest foot of the plateau on which the old town is built and forms the suburb of Ste Catherine.
Briançon is located close to the Parc National des Ecrins.
On 8 July 2008, several buildings of Briançon were classified by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, as part of the "Fortifications of Vauban" group. These buildings are: the city walls, Redoute des Salettes, Fort des Trois-Têtes, Fort du Randouillet, ouvrage de la communication Y and the Asfeld Bridge. Along with Briançon, 11 other sites of fortified buildings in France were classified. Among them is theplace-forte of Mont-Dauphin, also in the Hautes-Alpes department. These pieces of art were designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban(1633-1707), a military engineer of King Louis XIV.
Briançon has often been a start or a finish of Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Dauphiné Libéré
Briançon has featured regularly as a stage start or finish in the Tour de France and is thus a popular base for cyclists. Since 1947, the town has been the start point for a stage of the tour 22 times, and has also been the stage finish 22 times.
In 2007, the town was the finish of the 159.5 km (99.1 mi) stage 9 on 17 July from Val-d'Isère crossing the Col de l'Iseran, the Col du Télégrapheand the Col du Galibier with a 37 km (23 mi) downhill finish in Briançon.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Molière is a film by French director Laurent Tirard. It stars Romain Duris as the eponymous playwright. It was released in Europe in January 2007 and in the United States in July 2007.
Tirard both directed the movie and co-wrote the screenplay with Grégoire Vigneron.
The film focuses on several months of Molière's early life that are unknown to scholars. It begins in 1658, when the French actor and playwright returns to Paris with his theatrical troupe to perform in the theater the king has given him. Most of the film is in the form of a flashback to 1645. Following an unsuccessful run as a tragic actor, Molière is released from debtor's prison by Monsieur Jourdain (Fabrice Luchini), a wealthy commoner with social pretensions, who agrees to pay the young actor's debts if Molière teaches him to act.
Jourdain, already a married man with two daughters, hopes to use this talent to ingratiate himself with Célimène (Ludivine Sagnier), a recently widowed beauty and with whom he has become obsessed, by performing a short play he has written for the occasion. Molière, however, who has been presented to the family and staff of Monsieur Jourdain as Tartuffe, a priest who is supposedly to serve as tutor for the Jourdains' younger daughter, proceeds to fall in love with Jourdain's neglected wife, Elmire (Laura Morante). Sub-plots involve the love life of the Jourdains' older daughter, and the intrigues of the penniless and cynical aristocrat Dorante (Edouard Baer) at the expense of the gullible Jourdain.
The story is mostly fictional,and overall has the feeling of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors but many scenes follow actual scenes and text in Molière's plays (including Tartuffe, Le Misanthrope, and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, whose principal character is also named Jourdain), in a manner that implies that these "actual" events in his life inspired the plays of his maturity. This is a recurrent plot device in the film, since Célimène is the main character's love interest in Le Misanthrope.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Joyeux Noël (zhoy yoo noh ell) -Merry Christmas